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MAR // Monthly Update

Hello!

This month (aside from the usual excuse of being too busy and too occupied to rampantly progress my pet project), I’ve collected a bit of a thematic set of articles to share!

I did manage to complete one test, as part of my site series. The previous sketch before is on hold for the time being. I feel both exposed and sheltered from the explosion of media, stories, reviews, new content — you name it. Where do you start? (I don’t know) When does it end? (It doesn’t)

 

  1. Why Ready Player One Is a Beautiful Prophecy for the Future of VR Collaboration
    A good  and short read. I think the neatest point made was the notion that kids are afforded a very different learning and growing environment. The example made was how often children are fearful of making mistakes or showing vulnerability whether to their classmates or parents or whoever. But throw them in a VR environment where no one’s looking, and they’ll try and try again with no shame.
    I see an environment like the OASIS as a way for people to test, integrate, fail, make decisions, and rapidly assemble a group of people from all over the world and with different points of view to solve a problem. 

  2. The Art of Architectural Storytelling, or How to Present a Building
    This was a fun read, partially because of the criticism on Architectural jalingo while also providing examples and improvements on how to tell the story of your design to your everyday lay person (your client who pays you lots of money so they get what they want).
    From day one in school, architect students are immersed in a patois of the Queen’s English, Latin tidbits, and made-up terms like “cinegrammatic,” “unsolid,” and “neo-ness.” ‘
    At the end of the day, the article makes one solid point – “stories drive home emotional points” To that end, perhaps that’s why there’s a explosive interest in Blank Spaces’ Storytelling architecture competition every year. I myself entered twice, unsuccessfully, but fully convinced it is an excellent way to approach our world.
  3. VR in Retail: The Future of Shopping is Virtual and Augmented
    A short read and an interesting one. The ideas are all very exciting in the direction of improving the retail experience. In AR, improving the experience in-store. And in VR, providing an interactive environment away from the physical location that may not be available where you are.

That’s all for now! On to the next month. I may be starting a new sketchbook soon, so perhaps I’ll be able to pivot and really focus on doodles for Artifact.

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FEB // monthly update

Hey there end of February.

I’ll admit, I’m failing at keeping a schedule. It’s been hard to will myself to work on the next test. It’s been hard to make time for brainstorming interface ideas. It’s been hard just keeping up with a side project. No surprise. I’ve tried reading motivational, productivity, inspiring medium writing. They’re good, and they’re helpful, but sometimes an over-saturation of it starts to do the opposite — feels even more overwhelming. Sometimes you just gotta do it!

Thankfully, things are moving forward on site, which means I may just progress with my site series. It’ll be a little late, but it’s on it’s way!

Here’s a sketch of the next site series — steel is here!

sketch 009

Links ahead:

  1. Freddy Mamani’s New Andean Architecture adds colour to Bolivian city
    This is pretty amazing. It’s trippy as heck, but colourful and unique. I don’t know how this style of work will fare around the world, because it’s very bold, but the splashes of colour and fantastical geometric forms can certainly brighten up the street. I’m now wondering how my Artifact app idea can bring more of these unique designs to the surface. I guess there could be a global search function that highlights certain styles of details? Colour perhaps? Architizer probably has a good system for that.
  2. How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing Modern Office Design
    More on the Internet of things. Office design is really fascinating to me, somehow.

    “It is embedded in everyday objects we use and allows them to communicate autonomously with each other.”

    What if they’re communicating to us through a digital overlay of information? The article discusses the use of VR to enhance communication between coworkers, customers, etc. On the flip side of such an integrated work experience, will this be the end of work-life balance? Probably more to be said about that model in another discussion.

  3. The healthy Architect or how to master Stress in Architecture
    An older article but a good read to refresh our mindset of how to work successfully, productively and also balanced.

    “Stress as part of the profession or part of the culture?”

    This is a long and loaded one. But a lot of the pointers are very standard and practical advice. Sometimes you just really get into a project, or a problem to solve and consume-ing-ly (not a word) hack at it non-stop. And sometimes you go at it too long and burn out. I’m no stranger to this cycle. So what’s better, this extreme ends cycle or a seemingly less stressful series of habits to approach ‘balance’ from a different perspective? Honestly I’m not sure. I think both could be viable solutions, and really it pends on so many factors. Including a considerable amount of self-control, understanding of one-self’s capabilities and limitations, as well as knowing one’s threshold of fun and active. What’s your way?

 

I’ve been testing out development on android this past month. Started with something very simple like a sticker pack using a template Android Studio package. But it worked and at the very least I can say I have officially joined the Android development world. Next steps for this app may be a lot more complicated, especially without a concrete idea. So more brainstorming to come.

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JAN // Monthly Update

Hello January. Rather, See Ya January!

It’s the new year, which means ARtifact Lab was on my new years resolutions to keep hacking at. The site series may take a one-test break for an insert test while real-life progress on site gets ready for steel. That being said, here’s some sketches for Test 009 ideas: Last October, I went to check out the local but temporary BIG Serpentine pavilion, here in Toronto to promote Bijarke’s new ‘Habitat’-esque proliferation of housing units across King West. The project is pretty neat, even though it’s quite insane. I also checked out a talk including Bjarke himself, the head of Westbank development, as well as artist Douglas Coupland, longtime friend and collaborator of the two.

I did a pretty early sketch of a simplified test version for the towers back in October, but here’s an update:sketch 009

I have some plans for more interface design options for the coming months in addition to the ongoing Tests. Looking exciting.

In the meantime, here are some links! Only two this week and both from Redshift, which I have been following more regularly.

  1. IoT Technology Will Improve Safety and Efficiency on the Construction Site
    IoT stands for ‘Internet of Things’ — a blanket term that encompasses a number of web-enabled smart tech. The things they can do are pretty neat, I would love to be part of this kind of development.

    “Just like the smart watch senses your daily activities and gives you insights into when you should walk, meditate, or drink a glass of water, IoT on construction sites are also identifying risks before they happen. “

  1. 5 Things the Built World Can Learn From a Filmmaker’s Digital Pipeline
    I was in the entertainment industry for a really brief while, on the computer animation front rather than film making. I think they’re wildly different, but seeing the word ‘pipeline’ sorta strikes at some nostalgia for sure. This one isn’t a long read, worth running through! #3 is so true.

    “The same holds true in the built world, where more refined real-time visualizations and actions can allow decisions to be made earlier and prevent the time-and-cost ramifications of delays.”

That’s all for now, bye!

 

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DEC // Happy Holidays

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Bi-weekly my butt! And just like that it’s the holidays. So here’s a December update – thoughts, things I’ve read, and finally…not a test! But Happy Holidays from CAT! Hopefully a test 008 very soon, over the holidays.

A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine wrote up an interesting article on the current state of architecture schools. I know…these articles are all over the internet. What Nicolas collects are a great number of thoughts from prominent educators in the leading architecture schools of America. The focus of the article is in the revitalization of the PoMo movement in student work, and the question of whether that’s a bad thing or not. At the end of the day, I am not for or against any style in particular, so my opinion could be rather moot. I did however enjoy this quote by Michael Young –

Young, however, still offered a little opposition: “We have to understand one of our strongest political positions is within aesthetics. It is what we do. We alter the background of what people assume to be the way the world looks.”

I don’t know that I would agree that architects are moving more towards just making ‘images’ now, because I’m strongly of the opinion that useful and beautifully designed built physical space is what brings value to an architect. The ‘image’ that we add on top is icing on top of an already deeply multi-coloured cake.

If it hasn’t been evident already, I am really very keen to get into the whole smart city world of Sidewalk Labs. As an architect, I’m not particularly useful to them just yet, as they already have a lineup of architectural consultants (re. heavy timber design..etc.). But since I am very interested in the idea of a virtual (AR) overlay on a city, I would love to get into the R&D or innovation side of things, to see if my idea could be of any use in a smart city. In any case, this article really pinpoints the fact that technology is a driver for design. Maybe many traditionalists would argue that technology is just a tool, but the reality is that if you don’t use the tools properly and effectively, they will eventually move past you and become the drivers.

“If our built spaces can be designed with an awareness of how to design with technological elements, the relevance of architecture will begin to shift. “

So taking a very different turn, I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how this’, ‘how that’ articles that have to do with living a better life, being more productive, yada yada. There was a phase where I was reading a lot of them to help justify the things I decided to do or accomplish, but I have since gotten over it. I find my time is better placed elsewhere, whether it’s winding down with some doodling, taking a break and actually enjoying some video games, or in other more fruitful readings. In any case, one of the latest articles I came across on medium was this. Persuasion is a very useful skill. Not just to get what you want or purely for your own self-interest, but also to help others figure out what it is that they want and thereby making them better decision makers. This doesn’t come without some underlying tactics to be a more effective negotiator though, and so I think out of many of the writings I’ve read about the topic, this one summarizes the tactics pretty concisely:

To persuade someone, we need to prove we are worth listening to.
Some ways to do this:

Tell stories about yourself.Good stories require empathy, and empathy leads the reader to trust the storyteller (you).

Present your credentials. Show you are qualified, but do not brag.

Show your connections with others.Mention your relations with someone who is trustworthy, and you suddenly appear trustworthy too.

Similar to the previous ‘self-help’ type of reading, I found this short article on how to get things done. The solution is easy – ask how a lazy person would do it. Given that you ask a very smart lazy person, I think this is an excellent idea, and it makes a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love effort. I tend to evaluate or judge people based on effort. But if they can show they can complete or approach something with the fastest solution possible without sacrificing quality, then I’m all for it.

 

Well that’s it from me. If I don’t see you before, then HAPPY NEW YEAR world!

 

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NOV // Monthly Progress

At the rate I have been reading, learning, sketching and producing, I think it is safe to assume that I have been able to push out a test once a month. It is probably a good benchmark for me as I am. Now this is the point where I realize weekly has become bi-weekly and then bi-weekly has become monthly. And eventually the project fizzles into the dust of an alternate universe. But, I think monthly is actually totally achievable. It gives me time to learn in my job (for the site series tests), read enough interesting buzz to reflect about, sketch my next ideas, and of course, produce a test.

So how goes this monthly? Test 007 came out smoothly and was well received on instagram. Probably the best place to follow for just my test progress, whereas my text updates will happen here on the blog. It will come in two parts, the first will be test sketches as well as interesting articles or ideas that have come up. And the second part will be the actual test. I guess…that means I’m back to bi-weekly. 🙃

Here’s a collection of interesting AR stories I’ve read recently (actual article of course, may not be too recent)

“… but really any time you’re working on new stuff the goal should be for the radical new technology to basically just disappear, to be invisible to the user.”

  • Nike’s new NYC flagship store is fueled by its mobile app
    There were a slew of these articles released the past few months about Nike’s new retail stint. It’s pretty darn cool, I’d definitely be down to check it out. Retail ain’t dying yet, not on Nike’s watch.

  • Opendesk launches augmented-reality shopping for its open-source furniture
    Speaking of AR in retail, here’s another one closer to home (haha…) I Like this idea, and I’ve tried it unsuccessfully with the ikea app earlier this year when I got my (now outdated) ipad. With the new ARKit2 opportunities though, there’s just so much possibility.
  • Think Generative Design Is Overhyped? These Examples Could Change Your Mind
    I’ve linked and mused about a Redshift article before. Here’s another one that caught my eye. There is some controversy regarding generative design to replace space making (and from the designer’s perspective, it could be a scary thought — what use am I now?), but what about if we shifted that perspective to understand generative design as a partner to design? We’re not getting replaced, we’re just getting actively and exponentially assisted in ways we never could have imagined just a few years ago. I remember walking through Autodesk’s new Toronto office, and there was a little display talking about how generative design is helping with boeing aircraft design to not only increase the strength of the shell, but also reduce weight, reduce waste, reduce fuel needed. Just so many things.  That made me incredibly excited.

I’ll finish off with sketches for Test 008. Somehow it looks like I’ve caught up to construction progress. Perhaps the next test will be a break and I will intercede with some recent event tests. Moving on up
sketch 008

 

 

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